It is a sad commentary on us that the usable online versions of the journal of discourses seem to be posted by the enemies of the church as an easy access point for criticizing the early brethren, rather than by ourselves.
Will we bury our treasure, our talent, in the earth and then when the Savior returns tell God that we kept it hidden and safe?
It is true we have a wealth of truth standing in front of us in the four standard works. But you could take take the Ensign articles not written by the prophet and apostles in the last 45 years that are available online and burn them and their memories, putting up the discourses of our early prophets in their place and you would find yourselves holding 10 talents instead of five, and could say to the Lord that we took the five that we received from him and, because we did not bury them, we would find ourself holding five more talents that we could add to them.
We cannot take the light he gave us and bury it and gain anything in particular from it. And doing so only angers him. To what purpose does he make good men like Brigham Young wade through the evils of this life, the persecutions and afflictions of the wicked?
Do we not read of the prophets:
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Certainly Brigham and the early prophets were persecuted and endured tribulation we cannot really understand or comprehend sitting on our couches in air conditioning eating something delicious that was cooked by an electric appliance using water from our tap. And our tribulations suffered in the name of our religion are limited to fretting over whether someone might call us a "hate monger" if we suggest that dark perverse iniquity is something we don't personally endorse.
But Brigham Young and the other early prophets were among those "of whom the world was not worthy" and the Lord allowed them to suffer that we might be saved.
So of course, when we bury their talent, the light that they brought to the world, we anger him.
But if we invest those five talents instead we can come back to him and say that he gave us 5 talents of light and truth and, as he demands for doing so, we can return it to him with usary. We can show him the 5 additional talents of light and truth that we gained by investing that first 5.
Again, my intention is not to criticize the prophet or the twelve. Honestly, I think they would be happy to get us simply to read the scriptures we already have.
But I do think it is a shame on us the way we have buried our talent, even the teachings of the early brethren. They used to be sold among us. My parents owned a copy.
And no, the "Teachings of the presidents of the church" manuals do not count for anything. Read the talks those quotes came from, then tell me you disagree. No one can read much Ezra Taft Benson without having a good idea of what he had to say. And sadly, no one can read the Ezra Taft Benson manual and come away with a good idea of what he had to say. I think he would weep to know that the members of the church read a summary of his teachings in which none of the words "socialist", "socialism", "communist" or "communism" appear even once. Those on the Sunday School board who clipped such teachings cannot pretend we live in a day when his many warnings about socialism, sometimes entire talks on those subjects, are irrelevant. The very opposite is true, but no one reading the manual of his teachings will ever know it.
We read a manual on Ezra Taft Benson's teachings in a year when we have social health, and are being faced with socialist presidential candidates. Yet not one person reading his manual will know of this plain and thorough general conference teachings on socialism and communism.
And why are those teachings clipped? My wife and I discovered from her experience writing for Mormon Women stand. She wrote using President Benson's teachings and someone high up in the site took out every instance of the word "communism" from President Benson's quotations, replacing them with ellipsis, and even altered the actual text of one of President Benson's statements actually changing the words in one of his quotations.
We can only assume the obvious answer.
The church Sunday School board and church PR are not the twelve. They are not the prophet. But they are the sieve through which much of the tone and content of lds.org is passed. They are the filter placed over the mouths of the prophets of the past.
And because of that, we can never know the prophets of the past but by digging up their talks and reading them.
But it is a talent well worth digging up from the place where it has been buried.